With both of the girls, I delivered in a hospital with a nurse-midwife. She was awesome.
She just let me do my own thing with both labor. I have a vivid memory of her plopping down on the bathroom floor next to my tub at midnight and just saying, “I’m here. Whatever you need, I’m here.”
As it turned out, I don’t really like a lot of people around when I’m laboring. She went with that. She let me stay off the monitors as much as possible, nibble on a few snacks, (nothing crazy, just saltine crackers and popsicles) and–this was the key–spend as much time in the jacuzzi tub as possible.
That jacuzzi tub was a lifesaver.
While I didn’t give birth in the tub, I did spend the majority of time during labor hopping in and out of the tub. I alternated between the tub and a rocking chair, so I actually spent no time in bed until it was closer to push. The tub was perfect, with jets that hit just the right spots to ease the contraction pain.
With both labors, I used the tub until I was dilated to about 7-8, at which point, those of you who’ve been through it know, things can pretty uncomfortable. I used a dose of IV meds (Nubain, as it so happens there) to help take the edge off until it was pushing time.
I fondly remember my mother telling me how easy pushing would be before Ada was born.
“Oh, pushing was such a relief,” she gushed. “It’s the easiest part!”
But of course, my mother and her throne of lies is not the point. My point in all of this labor and delivery rambling is that I have successfully birthed two children sans epidural. And things went well. Especially with the second labor, I felt very in control, very Zen, very much like a giant pregnant Buddha.
It feels good to have done things my way, and there’s a certain pride I have in knowing that I have fully experienced birth—what it feels like to push a baby from my body, a linking to the thousands and thousands of women who have crossed the threshold into motherhood.
But things are different this time.
1) I’m delivering at a different hospital, with a doctor this time around.
2) There are no tubs.
3) I’m delivering on the unit I work on.
4) There are no tubs.
And honestly, I’m scared.
I feel a little lost without my tub. I honestly don’t see how I can possibly get through labor naturally without my jets. Throw in the fact that I’m going to be on full display around, you know, people I work with, and I feel a little more than intimidated. I know by experience that I’m not exactly the most dignified person when I’m pushing….
Part of me just wants to do an epidural and get it over with…but the other part of me thinks if I’ve done it before without one, why start now?
What do you guys think?
Should I just go with the epidural this time around? Maintain a somewhat dignified state around my co-workers? Or should I look into other non-tub strategies of getting through without the needle?
What would you do?